Recession fears have apparently punched a big hole in metaverse jobs even as they’ve led to a great deal of uncertainty in the startup and venture world.
Postings for jobs with the word “metaverse” in them dropped by 81% between April and June 2022, according to workplace researcher Revelio Labs.
The big decline comes just nine months after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg planted a flag in the world of augmented and virtual reality by changing the name of his company to Meta Platforms Inc. (Nasdaq:META). Lately, though, Zuckerberg has been warning employees to prepare for what could be “one of the worst downturns that we’ve seen in recent history.”
This job shift hasn’t been limited to the metaverse, according to Bloomberg, which cited a report from employment site Indeed that showed an 8.4% July drop in job postings in tech hubs like the Bay Area, Seattle and Austin. Job postings in non-tech hubs fell just 0.6%.
Apple Inc., which is expected to be a major Meta rival in virtual-reality, last week said that it would be “more deliberate” in its recruitment. Google parent Alphabet Inc., too, has slowed its hiring.
The number of open tech jobs has declined by about 24.4% since its peak in April, according to job data site Trueup.io. That’s a decline of nearly 117,000 postings.
Amid all of this, the Wall Street Journal reports that the startup world is getting conflicting advice from investors, with some preaching austerity while others are continuing to push the growth-at-all-costs mantra. At the same time that some founders are slashing jobs, others are taking their employees on vacation and telling their workers to stay the course, the Journal reported.
“I don’t think we are heading into a terrible downturn,” San Francisco-based angel investor Ali Partovi, who is also founder and CEO of education nonprofit Code.org, told the Journal. “Now is actually the time to speed up and I wouldn’t listen to others telling you to save your money.”
One problem has been trying to decipher what type of economic downturn we are in now, one like happened two decades ago in the dotcom bust, in the Great Recession of 2007-2009 or at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic two years ago?
“I personally don’t think there is a lot to be gained from the previous busts because this particular moment is so unique,” Arun Mathew, an investor at Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Accel told the Journal. “Everyone is in this moment of uncertainty about what the next six months or the next 12 months will look like.”